8. Preaching the gospel, 13:53-17:27

xi] The way of discipleship


Jesus and his disciples are staying in the region of Caesarea Philippi. Peter, on behalf of his fellow disciples, declares that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus now responds with the first of a series of passion predictions and then goes on to address the subject of denying self.


The gospel calls for surrender to a suffering servant whose ignominious submission to the divine-will paves the way to glory.


i] Context: See 16:13-20.


ii] Structure: The way of discipleship:

Setting, v21:

A description of the new focus in Jesus' teaching:

"that he must go to Jerusalem ....."

Dialogue between Jesus and Peter, v22-23;

Discourse, v24-28:

Three parallel sayings on cross-bearing, v24-26;

"whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves ....."

"whoever wants to save their life will lose it ...."

"what good will it be for someone to gain the whole world ....."

A saying on eternal reward, v27:

"the Son of Man is going to come ...... he will reward ...."

A saying on the imminent coming of the Son of Man, v28:

"some who are standing here will not taste of death until ....."


There are two distinct parts to this passage:

• Jesus' dialogue with Peter, v21-23, prompted by Jesus' teaching about his suffering, death and resurrection;

• Three parallel sayings of Jesus on cross-bearing, an independent Son of Man saying on eternal reward, and a saying on the imminent coming of the Son of Man ("Kingdom of God" in Mark and Luke). The last two sayings nicely draw v13ff to a conclusion.

A chiastic structure in reverse of v13-20 is proposed by some commentators, eg., Luz.


iii] Interpretation:

A pattern is introduced in this passage which is repeated a number of times, most notably in Mark's gospel. Jesus announces that the Son of Man must suffer many things prior to his resurrection and enthronement. Having spoken about the way of the cross Jesus then goes on to speak about a person's surrender to the divine will for the attainment of authentic life. Throughout the gospel, both themes go hand in hand and both are repeated together.

It is evident from the gospel record that the disciples failed to understand the significance of messiah as a suffering servant. They may have viewed Jesus' words as nonliteral, particularly when he spoke about death. The messiah may suffer, but could he really die? So, Jesus obviously covers the subject a number of times. Yet, the repetition of this paired teaching in the gospel is related more to its importance for the reader than to emphasize the dullness of the disciples.

Understanding the relationship between Jesus' surrender to the divine will and the surrender of his disciples is no easy task. Most commentators argue that the life-giving of Christ establishes the necessity of living a sacrificial life of service in honor of Christ: This disowning of self, or renouncing of self, "is not so much a prerequisite of discipleship to Jesus as a continuing characteristic of it", Carson; "Coming after me ...... means be a disciple, be a committed follower. Such a person must deny himself. The natural tendency of the human race is to affirm oneself, to concentrate on what serves one's own interests, to make oneself as prosperous as one can. Jesus calls on his followers to renounce such self interest, to leave self behind", Morris. As Marshall puts it, discipleship involves living as a "man who is already condemned to death", so also: D&A, France ("loyalty to Jesus before self preservation"), Nolland, Luz ("suffering for the cause of Jesus" / "saying Lord, Lord, will not help in the judgment of the Son of Man. Instead what matters is obedience"), Filson ("steady continuing faithfulness in the way of costly obedience"), Hendriksen, Blomberg ("putting God and kingdom priorities first"), Beare, .... Some commentators take a more literal stance, eg. Gundry, "following Jesus signifies open allegiance to Jesus the Crucified One. Such allegiance will expose one to the hostility of the world and entail the risk of losing one's life as he lost his", so also Hagner, McNeile (although + "self mortification"), Keener, Patte, ....

Yet, it is very likely that Jesus is not addressing the issue of cross-bearing discipleship. Nolland is surely right when he observes that Jesus' image of taking up a cross is more likely drawn from everyday life than a prefiguring of his own cross. It was not uncommon to see a criminal carrying a cross-bar to their execution, which image we could contextualize today with the words, "place yourself in the firing line / put your neck in the noose / put your head on the chopping block", all of which would well describe renunciation of self in surrender to Christ. Consider also the phrase "follow me". It doesn't necessarily mean "do what I do", but rather "become my disciple." Jesus hasn't attached a list of concrete requirements to "follow me", it is just "follow me." Note also the word "deny". Luz defines the word as a form of back-formation from "deny Christ". The word carries the sense "renounce / refuse" - renounce self rather than renounce Christ = claim Christ.

So, although a matter of some debate, what we have here is the foundational theology of a salvation appropriated by identification with the crucified and risen Christ. Paul's thesis is that a person is not justified by observance to the law, but rather by identification with the faithfulness of Christ enacted on the cross. For this reason believers put their trust in Christ / identify with Christ so that their justification, and thus their appropriation of the promised blessings of the covenant, might rest on Christ's faithfulness rather than their own, cf. Gal.2:15-16. What we have before us is the source material that enabled Paul to come to this conclusion, a conclusion which enables us to understand Jesus' words here.

The Son of Man suffers, dies and rises to glory. Those who would share in the eternal blessings now bestowed by Christ must surrender to him, deny self by adhering to a humiliated messiah; we need to stick our neck out ("take up their cross") and put our trust in the crucified one ("follow me"). If we cling to the glory of this age rather than Jesus' humiliation, then we will forfeit the glory of the age to come.


What of those who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom? The "coming" of Jesus is fraught with difficulty. There are many comings, the most important, and possibly the one most commonly referred to in the New Testament, is Jesus' coming, in the terms of his arrival in heaven, Dan.7:13. As for his earthly comings, the "first coming", the incarnation, is not strictly his first. There are many divine comings, particularly associated with judgment. This is why the "coming" in this passage is often identified with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, which is rightly a "coming" of the Lord to render justice, a coming which serves as a paradigm of the final judgment. In the terms of realized eschatology Christ has already come; the "at hand" is now, but also inaugurated, not yet. The old London Commentary by Plumber gives a handy list of the main options proposed over the years:

The transfiguration;

The resurrection and ascension;


The spread of Christianity;

The taking root of the gospel in our heart;

The destruction of Jerusalem;

The second coming of Christ.

Maybe the problem in v28 relates to the way we view time. We should not be daunted by Jesus' apocalyptic language - the now / not yet reality of the kingdom of God. The fact to note with the eschaton is that it is timeless (outside time) in relation to our time. The last day resurrection of the dead, the coming of the Son of Man with the saints to the heavenly realm, the assize, the eternal reign of God's new people, .... will be witnessed by all believers. Because time is not a factor here, there is a sense where we have already witnessed it; we are even now, through our identification with Christ, reigning with him, Eph.2:6-7. As time-bound creatures, it is only natural we find it hard to fathom a God who can be at the beginning of time and the end of time, at the same time. Still, it is not hard for us to imagine the glorious day when we will come with Christ into the heavenly sanctuary and stand before the Ancient of Days. In our passage for study, Jesus tells those who are listening to him, that there are some in the crowd who will not taste of (eternal??) death, but will both see and experience this last days wonder. They are, of course, his disciples, the believers. For a full discussion on all the options for Jesus' "coming in his kingdom" see D&A.


iv] Exposition: A simple verse-by-verse exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.

Text - 16:21

The way of discipleship, v21-28: i] Matthew tells us that the focus of Jesus' teaching changes from this point on. Jesus explains to his disciples that "he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things" - the necessity of the suffering and death of messiah, v21

apo tote "from that time" - from then. Temporal construction. Possibly serving as the turning point in the gospel, of Jesus' move from the crowds to the disciple and on to the cross, but certainly indicating a step in the narrative.

oJ IhsouV "Jesus" - Nominative subject of the verb "to begin." Some manuscripts have "Jesus Christ."

hrxato (arcw) aor. "began" - Implying that Peter's confession prompted an ongoing teaching ministry by Jesus on the subject of his death and its implications.

deiknumein (deiknuw) pres. inf. "to explain" - to show, explain. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "began". The verb "I point out / show" indicates that Jesus now openly speaks of his death; "he spoke plainly about this", Mk.8:32.

toiV maqhtaiV (hV ou) dat. "to the disciples" - Dative of indirect object.

oJti "that" - that. Introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus explained.

auton pro. "he" - The accusative subject of the following four infinitives.

dei "must" - it is necessary [for him]. The main verb of the sentence. It was necessary for Jesus to go up to Jerusalem and the cross, for it was his messianic destiny under God. So, not just an act of bravery or determinism.

apelqein (apercomai) aor. inf. "go" - to do, go, depart [to jerusalem]. This infinitive, along with paqein, "to suffer", apoktanqhnai, "to be put to death", and egerqhnai "to be raised to life", serve as the subject of the verb "it is necessary / must."

paqein (pascw) inf. "suffer many things" - [and] to suffer [many things from the elders, and chief priests, and scribes]. "Endure much suffering", Phillips; "suffer terribly", CEV. Note: those who undertake the condemnation of Jesus are members of the Sanhedrin. It is "at their hands", apo "from" them, expressing source, ie., they organized it.

egerqhnai (egeirw) pas. inf. "raised to life" - [and to be killed and on the third day] to be raised. Passive indicating that the action is not performed by Jesus, rather, the Father does the raising, ie., a theological passive.

th/ trith/ hJmera/ dat. "on the third day" - Temporal use of the dative. This term reflects typical Jewish counting where the day is not counted in terms of 24 hours, but of an event having occurred at any time during that day. So, Friday, Saturday and Sunday = three days. "Three days later", TEV.


ii] Peter reacts to this statement and reproves Jesus, v22-23. Peter strenuously rejects the idea of a suffering messiah. Jesus turns, faces Peter, and rebukes him strongly. The words and actions of Jesus are obviously very striking and were well remembered. First, he compares Peter's words with Satan's temptation of a kingdom gained without suffering. The possibility of another way, rather than the "cup" of suffering, was a fearful temptation. Second, Peter, who has just been described as the "fortress rock", the believing man upon whom Christ will build his church, is now described as a rock of stumbling, a rock to trip Christ up. Third, Peter, who had just declared a truth revealed by the Father, is now identified as a source of mere human thoughts, and corrupt at that.

proslabomenoV (proslambanomai) aor. mid. part. "took [him] aside" - [and] having taken, gathered to / brought along with [him]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing actin accompanying the verb "to begin"; "took him .... and began ...." "Took hold of", REB, is possible, but the sense is probably of Peter taking Jesus to one side to correct him privately. Another insight into Peter's very human character.

epitiman (epitimaw) pres. inf. "to rebuke" - [peter began] to rebuke, reprove, take to task. The infinitive is complementary, completing the sense of the verb "began".

autw/ dat. pro. "him" - him [saying]. Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to rebuke."

iJlewV soi "never, Lord!" - God be gracious to you. As an exclamation "perish the thought!", "preposterous!". Used with a dative personal pronoun, "you", dative of interest = "mercy toward you." Often with God stated or understood, "may God be merciful toward you rather than leaving you to face this circumstance alone." So, "God forbid!"

legwn (legw) pres. part. "he said" - saying. The participle is usually treated as attendant on the verb "to rebuke", "Peter rebuked him and said", but it may be taken as adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of the rebuke, "began to rebuke him, saying", ESV.

ou mh + fut. "never [happen to you]" - [lord, may this] never ever [happen to you]. Taking the form of a subjunctive of emphatic negation, but with the future tense rather than a subjunctive. Peter is expressing an outright refusal to accept that Jesus could be rejected; "this will in no wise happen to you."


oJ de "-" - but/and he. Transitional, indicating a step in the dialogue; "but Jesus turned."

strafeiV (strefw) aor. pas. part. "[Jesus] turned" - having turned, turned around [said]. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "said"; "turned and said."

tw/ petrow/ (oV) dat. "to Peter" - Dative of indirect object.

opisw + gen. "[get] behind [me]" - [go/depart] behind [me]. Spacial. Usually uJpagw takes the sense "go", so a forceful, "get out of my sight", but possibly better "get behind me" in the sense of "become my follower again", Barclay.

satana "Satan!" - A very strong address. Peter is taking the role of Satan by tempting Jesus. It is likely that the temptation is that of gaining a kingdom without a cross, a temptation Jesus knew only too well.

skandalon (on) "stumbling block" - [you are] a cause of offense, a trap. Predicate nominative. Here a prompt to sin, "a trap", "an occasion for sin." Peter is setting a dangerous trap for Jesus, similar to the one Jesus faced in the wilderness. Peter is behaving as a rock of stumbling rather than a foundation rock upon which Christ can build his church. The only way for Jesus is the way of suffering and death. "You're doing your best to trip me up", Barclay.

emou gen. pro. "to me" - of me. The genitive is usually taken as adjectival, verbal, objective, as NIV.

oJti "-" - because. Introducing a causal clause explaining why Peter is a stumbling block to Jesus; "you are a stumbling-block to me, for your plans are not the plans of God", Torrey.

tou qeou "[the concerns] of God" - [you are not teaching the things] of god. The genitive is obviously adjectival, limiting God, possessive, or subjective, but more likely attributive, idiomatic, "the things which are a concern to God"; "the things that pertain to God, the concerns / the cause of God", Zerwick. "The thoughts you harbor are not those of God", Cassirer.

alla "but" - but [the things of men]. Strong adversative standing in a counterpoint construction, "not ..... but ...."; "but those of men", Torrey. Peter had just uttered divine truth, now he is the source of faulty human reasoning, "matters which concern humans", but not God.


iii] Discourse, v24-28: Jesus now establishes the link between his death and resurrection and a person's possession of authentic life. This subject is covered in a collection of three parallel sayings, the lead saying on a disciple's surrender to the divine will is supported by two other independent sayings, stitched to the first by gar. Next, a saying on the coming of the Son of Man and reward, v27, is again stitched by gar, and is followed by a general warning in v28. As to whether Jesus presented these sayings together in this context, or whether they were independently taught to the disciples and gravitated together over time, is of little importance. Their arrangement by Matthew is God's word to us.

a) Three sayings on cross-bearing, v24-26:

The first saying on denying self, v24. Crucifixion was a common event in Palestine, as was the sight of a person carrying part of their cross to the place of execution. As already noted in Interpretation above, when Jesus calls on his listeners to "take up their cross" he is calling on them to put their head on the chopping block, to take that dangerous step of faith and follow him. As already indicated, this image is often understood in terms of cross-bearing discipleship, of faithful and obedient service to Christ, of disowning personal human rights for a greater good. Yet, Jesus is speaking of grace, not law. Although these words are directed to the disciples, they are for tiV, "anyone". The renunciation that Jesus speaks of here involves an embarrassing surrender to a suffering messiah.

tote adv. "then" - Temporal adverb, but with the sense "next in sequence", Morris, ie., indicating a step in the narrative.

toiV maqhtaiV (hV ou) "[said] to [his] disciples" - Dative of indirect object.

ei tiV + ind. "if anyone / whoever" - Introducing an indefinite relative conditional clause, 1st class, where the condition is assumed to be true; "if anyone, as is the case, ..... then ....." Expressing a hypothetical case, but not doubt. Note how Mark, expanding on this section, states "and having called together the crowd along with his disciples, said to them..." It is of particular interest that Mark makes the point that these words are for the "crowd" as well as "the disciples." Matthew's use of "if anyone would come after me" (Mark has "follow") further indicates that these words are not simply an encouragement for disciples to upgrade their discipleship to a cross-bearing level, but rather serve as a call for commitment to Christ.

qelei (qelw) "would" - wills. Expressing a decision of the will.

elqein (ercomai) aor. inf. "to come [after me] / to be my disciple" - The infinitive may be classified as complementary, completing the sense of the verb "to will", or as introducing a dependent statement of perception after the cognitive verb "to will."

aparnhsasqw (aparneomai) aor. mid. imp. "deny [himself]" - let him give up his own rights, renounce, pay no attention to, reject. The aorist points to a single act of renouncing self interest, possibly a strong aorist, "deny utterly." As already noted, commentators will often treat "deny" in terms of discipleship, eg., expressing the need for a disciple to "concentrate on meeting the needs of others rather than promoting ourselves", Morris. Yet, this is a word for "anyone", not just disciples. The word is used of Peter's denial of Jesus, of "disowning" or "disclaiming" him. The positive sense of "surrender" ("obedience to" the divine will, D&A is not as sound as "surrender to") probably best illustrates the sense here. What we have here is a call for commitment to Christ, as against a commitment to our own self interest, "leave self behind", NEB.

aratw (airw) aor. imp. "take up [his cross]" - take up, lift up, carry off [the cross of him]. Again an aorist, a singular action of picking up rather than carrying, so expressing a deliberate act. As above, of a life-threatening deliberate act of commitment involving renunciation of self in surrender to Christ, "surrender to the divine will." Note how v27, although bearing some similarities, is quite different to Mark's record of Jesus' words. Mark has Jesus warning his listeners that on his return he will be ashamed of those who are ashamed of him and his words, while Matthew has Jesus warn that on his return he will "repay everyone for what has been done." Commitment to a humiliated messiah is the counter to being ashamed of him, not cross-bearing discipleship. The deed that diverts judgment is commitment to Christ, not cross-bearing discipleship. So, the image of taking up the cross describes deliberate surrender rather than service, a commitment to the divine call to believe for salvation in Jesus, a crucified messiah.

akolouqeitw (akalouqew) pres. imp. "follow" - The present tense indicates ongoing action, a continual reliance on Christ, a faith and trust for today and tomorrow. The word is probably reflected in Luke's difficult phrase "take up his cross daily."

moi dat. pro. "me" - Dative of direct object after the verb "to follow after."


The second saying on the paradox of life and death, v25. If we, in the power of our own will, seek to preserve our self-being, our personal independent eternal self, then we will lose everything. Only by surrendering ourselves to / committing to the dying and rising Christ, by losing ourselves in him, can we find and preserve our eternal being, our "soul", our "life".

gar "for" - for. Usually treated as causal, although this and the following two sayings serve to support / expand on the saying in v24, so more explanatory than causal, even emphatic; "in fact ....", v25, "indeed ......", v26, Cassirer, or simply as a stitching device. Without surrender to Christ authentic life is lost, d, "but", with surrender, it is found.

o}V ... ean + subj. "whoever" - Introducing a relative conditional clause, 3rd. class, with a future tense in the apodosis, expressing what will occur if; "whoever, as the case may be, .... then ....." "Anyone desirous to save his life will suffer the loss of it", Cassirer.

qelh/ (qelw) subj. "wants" - wills. Again an action of the will is indicated. "Whoever desires to save his life", Weymouth.

swsai (swzw) aor. inf. "to save" - The infinitive is usually treated complementary, completing the sense of the verb "wills / wants."

thn yuchn (h) "[his] life" - the life [of him will lose it]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to lose." Is this a reference to the "soul" / "ones true being", or to "the sum of physical existence here and now"? Those who lean toward a "discipleship" interpretation of this passage primarily understand "save his life" in terms of "those persons who try selfishly to guard their existence will not know the full commitment of discipleship and will tragically end up losing the very thing they tried to protect", Hagner (if we are honest, this is all of us!!!). If the passage is approached literally in the terms of martyrdom, then the person who wills to lose his life has to be widened to include the person who "is prepared to lose his life", Barclay (a rather blatant sidestep). Calvin suggests "life" means "soul" here, a person's eternal being, and this is the likely sense. Our eternal being is lost to us if we "abandon Jesus and his messianic pathway", Hill, but is gained if we surrender / commit to him. Life eternal is ours when we believe in the crucified messiah, even though such belief may be embarrassing ("ashamed of me").

apolesh/ (apollumi) aor. subj. "lose" - [but whoever] may destroy utterly, kill = loses [the soul of him]. "Considers his own life as unimportant in order to become my disciple", TH ("unimportant" is a bit strong, even possibly psychologically damaging! The opposite, namely the self-actualizing of our children so that they believe they are special, amazing, brilliant, ....., is probably just as damaging!).

e{neken + gen. "for [me]" - because of, on account of [me]. Introducing a causal construction. Mark has "for my sake and the gospel", so Matthew is focusing attention on Jesus. Authentic life / eternal life is gained when a person commits themselves to Jesus for salvation.

euJrhsei (euJriskw) fut. "will find [it]" - The word "find" simply parallels "lose", but of course the sense is "save". A person who commits to Jesus saves their life / soul / being = gains eternal life.


The third saying on the eternal worth of a person's essential being, v26. The value of a person's soul / being is beyond price, even of more value than all the riches of the world. "What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose [your soul]? What could you ever trade your soul for?", Peterson.

gar "-" - for. As for v25.

ti "what" - Interrogative pronoun introducing the apodosis of the conditional clause.

wfelhqhsetai (wfelew) fut. pas. "good will it be" - will be benefited, gained. "Will a person gain anything if ...", TEV.

ean + subj. "if" - Introducing a conditional clause 3rd. class, where the condition has the possibility of coming true; "if, as may be the case, ...., then ...."

kerdhsh (kerdainw) aor. subj. "gains" - [a man] should gain, profit, acquire [the whole world]. "Gain" in the sense of possess all that the world has to offer.

zhmiwqh/ (zhmiow) aor. pas. subj. "forfeits" - [but] he loses, has confiscated. "If you want to save your life you will destroy it", CEV.

thn .... yuchV (h) "soul" - the soul [of him]. Accusative direct object of the verb "to lose." There are numerous renderings of "soul" here, but it seems best to see it as a parallel meaning to "life" in v25. "What could a man (person) offer to buy back his (their) soul (one's true/essential being) once he has (they have) lost it?", Phillips.

antallagma (a) "in exchange" - [or what will a man give] in exchange for, in return for. This noun stands as the accusative complement of the direct object ti, "what", standing in a double accusative construction. Possibly: "as compensation."

thV yuchV (h) gen. "[their] soul" - the soul [of him]. The genitive is usually taken as adjectival, verbal, objective.


b) A saying on the reality / nearness of judgment at the hand of the coming Son of Man, v27. In the day of judgment we will be rewarded on the basis of what we have done. In the context, the deed is our surrender / commitment to Christ. If we rest in faith on the cross of Christ, then we will be saved in the last day. Some argue that the deed is cross-bearing discipleship, in the sense of an exemplary Christian life, but this would leave us with a doctrine of salvation by works.

gar "for" - for. As for v25; "It is decreed that the Son of Man shall appear ...", Cassirer.

mellei (mellw) pres. "is going" - [the son of man] is about to [come]. When used of divine decrees; "is destined / must / will certainly", BAGD. For "Son of Man" see 8:2.

ercesqai (ercomai) pres. inf. "to come" - Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "is about." The coming of the Son of Man is a technical descriptive that causes no end of trouble in the business of eschatological interpretation. It is likely that the phrase comes from Daniel 7:13. Daniel's coming Son of Man proceeds to the Ancient of Days, ie., he comes to heaven, not to earth. Although Matthew's Son of Man comes with angels, whereas Daniel's Son of Man comes with "the clouds", it is still a coming to heaven, to glory, where the Son of Man "will sit on his throne in heavenly glory", with the nations gathered before him and the people separated one from another, Matthew 25:31. In fact, Matthew's "angels" may well be his "messengers", the saints, ie., we accompany the Son of Man to heaven to witness his enthronement. So, this coming of the Son of Man pictures his imminent enthronement, his judgment and divine rule, an event encompassing both heaven and earth - a good reason to commit to Christ now.

en + dat. "in [the Father's glory]" - in [the glory of the father of him]. Here adverbial, expressing manner, "in the manner of the glory that belongs to the Father" - "marker of a state or condition", BDAG.

meta + gen. "with [his angels]" - with [the angels of him]. Expressing accompaniment. In the great separation of the just from the unjust, the angels are the instruments of the Son of Man's judgment of humanity. Daniel clearly draws a distinction between "the angels" and "the saints", but in the New Testament we are sometimes left wondering if these angels (messengers of God) aren't actually the saints.

tote adv. "then" - Temporal adverb serving to introduce a temporal clause, as NIV.

apodwsei (apodidwmi) fut. "reward" - he will recompense, give back, repay. A payment of what is exactly due, so used of wages etc. "He will settle accounts with each man", Barclay.

eJkastw/ dat. adj. "each person" - each. The adjective serves as a substantive, dative of indirect object; "give back something to someone", here "something in accord with their actions.

kata + acc. "according to" - Expressing a standard; "in accordance with."

thv praxin (iV ewV) sing. "what [they] have done" - the actions, things carried out, performed, deeds. If a collective sense is indicated then "the sum of their conduct", but we are probably looking at a single deed. In this context it refers to a faith commitment to Christ. "He will give everyone his due reward", REB.


c) A saying on the imminent coming of the Son of Man, v28. This verse has many possible interpretations. Most commentators take "will not taste death" to mean "will not die", but a metaphorical sense is possible, "will not face eternal annihilation." Those who opt for "will not die" tend to think that Jesus' words apply to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. Certainly, some of those standing there that day, did see this terrible event. Yet, Jesus may be saying that some in the crowd, a small band who have put their trust in him, will share eternity with him. They will be part of that throng without number who come with the Son of Man into the presence of the Ancient of Days to receive glory, authority and power. See notes below.

amhn legw uJmin "I tell you the truth" - truly I say to you. An introduction that underlines the importance of what is about to be said, "I assure you", TEV.

oJti "-" - that. Here introducing a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Jesus wants to communicate.

tineV "some" - [there are] certain. Nominative subject of the verb to-be. Given that Jesus' audience is not just disciples, a fact made clear by Mark (and assumed by Matthew??), the "some" here are most likely believers, the disciples.

twn .... eJstwtwn (iJsthmi) gen. perf. part. "who [are] standing" - of the ones standing [here]. The participle is adjectival, the genitive being partitive; "some people, of those who are standing here."

oi{tineV indef. rel. pro. "-" - who. Standing in for a simple relative pronoun, so not "whoever", but "who".

ou mh + subj. "[will] not [taste death]" - [will] not never [experience of death]. Double negative with the subjunctive = a subjunctive of emphatic negation; "will definitely not die."

qanatou (oV) gen. "death" - of death. The genitive complement of the verb "to taste, experience." Commentators seem happy to accept that Jesus uses "death" metaphorically in John's gospel (6:50), but not in the synoptic gospels. It is quite reasonable, particularly in this context, to read "death" here as eternal annihilation rather than physical decay.

e{wV an + subj. "before [they see]" - until [they see]. This construction forms an indefinite temporal clause referring to a future time in relation to the main verb; "they will not experience death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom", Barclay.

tou anqrwpou (oV) gen. "[the son] of man" - The genitive is adjectival, relational. See above for "Son of Man."

ercomenon (ercomai) pres. part. "coming" - The participle serves to introduce a dependent statement of perception expressing what "they see."

en "in" - in, with. The function of this preposition here is fraught, but the most obvious sense is to take it as serving to introduce an attendant circumstance, as Nolland puts it, "coming in his kingdom must mean coming and ruling, coming to establish his rule." "They shall see the Son of Man coming to inaugurate his royal reign", Cassirer.

autou gen. pro. "his [kingdom]" - The genitive is possessive / verbal, subjective; technically that domain over which Jesus will be given authority after his resurrection. Mark's "until they see the kingdom of God" is far less complicated, but not as insightful.


Matthew Introduction


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